August 11, 2015

Change Is Good

We have undergone a number of significant changes in the past year. I’d like to highlight some of the key improvements that we believe will help us move forward as we aspire to become a premier provider of supports and services for people with disabilities. Some of the changes include: ▪ Rebranding – In January 2015, we rebranded as Open Options UCP from our previous name United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Kansas City. ▪ Quality Enhancement – We created a Quality Enhancement department that focuses on ensuring we are providing person-centered, high quality services and are enabling people to achieve outcomes that are most important to them.  This department consists of a Director of Quality Enhancement and two Quality Enhancement Coordinators. ▪ Health Services – Understanding how important the physical health and well-being of the people we support is, we created a Health Services department that oversees medical management.  This department consists of two Health Services Coordinators. ▪ Information Technology – We […]
July 29, 2015

Forest Through the Trees

In my experience in the nonprofit sector, there is little time spent on evaluating the overall cause and effect relationships and the overarching “logic” of why we do what we do.  It is easy to get pulled into the day-to-day operations of an organization and begin losing the ability to see the forest through the trees.  Increasing government regulations, procedures, and policies have created a culture of compliance, defining success as the absence of the “bad.”  “If I don’t get any phone calls from [insert licensing body here] today, I’ve accomplished something,” I have found myself thinking on my worst days.  A fear-based mentality like this results in leaders responding to threats and problems when they surface, rather than thinking proactively and working to create systems that create positive outcomes. My personal challenge is to think outside of the artificial walls that I have erected around me that have led […]
July 10, 2015

Back in School

I recently started attending my first class for my master degree in Nonprofit Management and Innovation and it has been quite an adjustment returning to school after eight years.  The first day I was mistaken for the instructor and found myself surrounded by fellow students who looked like they were still in high school.  The greatest culture shock, however, came once we started diving into the material itself.  I realized how disconnected I have been from the business world, its theories, and corresponding jargon.  Having worked only in the nonprofit industry, I never received any formal training in financials, business management, etc.  Because of this, I have always sought out books and resources to increase my knowledge and ability to do my job effectively.  Sitting in a classroom where I was being exposed to information and knowledge directly applicable to my job was amazing and overwhelming at the same time.  […]
June 24, 2015

Being Ok with Being Yourself

In our neighborhood growing up there was a family that had two sons that both had significant intellectual disabilities.  They were often made fun of by others and generally not treated well, unfortunately at times by even their own family members.  I can remember my parents always being very kind to them, however, and expressing sincere compassion and concern for their well-being.  One of sons would often come by our house to visit and talk, and I wondered how many opportunities he had to do this.  Seeing how he would light up and seem so excited made me believe they were few and far between.  This made quite an impression on me, and was one of the earliest memories I have of learning about people with disabilities and how they should be treated.   Once I entered school, I was picked on quite a bit for being a pretty awkward […]